We wanted to go to Tewksbury but it was full, so booked into the site at Cirencester instead. Took the most obvious route along the A419, which is an utterly dreadful road. We won’t be going on that one again.
Cirencester is nice, but on the Wednesday it rained cats and dogs. Nicer on Thursday and great pizzas at the campsite for dinner.
St John the Baptist, Cirencester
We didn’t want to be travelling too far on a Friday before a bank holiday, especially around the West Country and M5. We found a campsite at Slimbridge a few miles up the road so we went for it.
Tudor Caravan Park is a very nice site with a pub next door and a cafe across the road. However, unless you fancy paying lots of money to look at otters, ducks and other similar animals at the local wildlife trust, there is very little to do.
Swans on the canal
We went round the SS Great Briton which is a very cool ship. There is nothing amazing about it in this day and age, but it was built in 1843 and was in service for 90 years. It was the first of just about everything in anything of this scale – propeller driven, iron hull, and the Cutty Sark, elsewhere in this blog was built at around the same time.
SS Great Britain
Madman up a mast – he paid money to get to do this
Then we went to the flight museum at Flinton, which was a little bit of a let down. It has a Concorde which is great, but it could do with another hanger with more planes to make it better value.
Obviously we also visited the Clifton Suspension bridge:
Clifton Suspension Bridge
Back to Wythall to embark on a couple of weeks around the west country. The club site at Bristol is stupidly hard to book as it is small and popular, so finding six free nights was too good to miss.
Bank holiday weekends means classic bus trips at the transport museum at Wythall, next door to the campsite. We went on a green Routemaster for a trip to Maypole island and back:
Routemaster to Maypole
Here is another nice old bus:
Another nice old bus
Day four in Cheltenham and it has finally stopped raining. It is still freezing and windy but at least the sun is out, so after a few days tramping round the shops, off we go to Gloucester to see the docks:
Gloucester docks basin
Gloucester docks Warehouses
Gloucester docks Signpost
On the subject of the Falkirk Wheel, here it is.
Late evening and it is pouring with rain again. Tomorrow we head for Birmingham, with high wind warnings and threats of snow and hail. Great.
Boring journey pouring with rain, mostly along the A40:
We planned to go to the nearby Asda to stock upon food and drink, but no chance, the place was packed with not much room to park a vehicle like ours, and no doubt crazy queues at the checkouts.
Got the bus to Oxford, 5 quid each return. Grey miserable weather, loads of people, cyclists going for the kill made this not a pleasant experience. Also, the town centre maps are not really very good. Oxford is probably very nice, but the odds were stacked against it on this visit and we couldn’t wait to get back on the bus. Note for the future – don’t get off the bus back at the roundabout, carry on to the next stop at the palace and walk back as there is less chance of getting run over.
The trouble with places like this, where the landed gentry or aristocracy fling open the doors of their country piles to the hoi polloi for a fee, is that it seems like it is all a cynical attempt to get money to finance their lavish lifestyles. Granted, it costs a lot to keep a house like this and its gardens in good order, and there has sadly been a lot of such structures fall into disrepair, there is always an argument that these places are too important to be left in the hands of families, and should be passed to the state for their upkeep and preservation.
When you wander around a French Chateaux and marvel at the opulence of it all, while thinking about the poor peasants who suffered building it, at least you know the aristocrats got their comeuppance in the end. In the UK that process didn’t happen, so we got Boris Johnson as a reward.
Anyway, in the case of Blenheim, it has to be said they should have a few more rooms open to the public, give this size of the place. Also, with all the history going on, it is very Winston-oriented – understandable, but a shame.
Good points are that there a plenty of staff, the eateries are good value with decent produce, and the shop has good quality items at not too ridiculous prices.
Blenheim Palace facade
Statue at Blenheim Palace
After an uneventful drive from Moreton-on-Marsh we got to the Caravan and Motorhome site at Woodstock. It took about 20 minutes to walk to the village, which was a typically attractive Cotswold affair, with some small independent shops selling interesting looking stuff. Also a Co-op for the basics and plenty bars and coffee places.
Tomorrow we will do Winston’s birthplace.